by James C. Sherlock
I wrote yesterday of the epic failures of many Loudoun County Public Schools to educate their Black and Hispanic children.
Fortunately, there are proven solutions available.
They were not invented here, but rather New York City by the most successful charter management organization in America. That organization offers educator instruction in those solutions online free of charge.
Loudoun County Public Schools can take advantage and learn from them. I recommend they do so without delay.
Success Academy. I offer below the results of the New York State Department of Education Spring 2019 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) & Math Assessment. The Regents Exams in New York are used to assess schools the same way that Standards of Learning (SOL) exams are used in Virginia.
The chart below posits the schools of Success Academy, a public charter management organization that educates thousands of children in New York City, as its own school district for purposes of comparison.
Success Academy operates 47 schools serving students whose parents applied and were selected by lottery in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. In 2018-19 it educated 17,000 New York City kids, 94% of whom were Black and Hispanic.
Success Academy had Regents Exams results better than any school district in the state of New York. Their scholars had overall pass rates of 99% in math and 90% in English language arts.
That stands as a lesson to Loudoun County Public Schools. It exposes as rubbish any argument that Black and Hispanic kids cannot be educated at the same levels as Asian and White students.
Robinson Center. Success Academy runs its own Educator Development program, the Robertson Center.
Robinson Center is a New York State-certified provider of Continuing Teacher and Leader Education hours.
“Throughout the year, our workshops and virtual trainings offer educators the opportunity to build skill, community and expertise. Hailing from across the nation, educators join us to explore the core components of subject area instruction and school design at Success Academy, including curriculum, content, and the pre-teaching prep that powers each lesson. Participants then develop a vision for implementing what they learned at their schools.”
Robinson Center offers programs in professional development, school design, educator support and thought leadership discovery and dialogue. All programs are offered offered online free of charge. Including lesson plans.
Success Academies methods can be emulated, but their success is dependent upon their whole system, not one or two silver bullets.
Recommendations. I recommend the leaders of LCPS take several steps:
- Read the information on the Success Academy and Robinson Center websites.
- Set up a visit to NYC to see Success Academy schools in practice;
- Get in touch with Robinson Center at firstname.lastname@example.org and take advantage of their programs.
- Get VDOE to certify Robinson Center as a provider of continuing education hours;
- Sponsor changes to Virginia law that would enable Success Academy and other successful charter management organizations to operate in Virginia. Then, if LCPS cannot emulate Success Academy, it can ask that organization to open schools in Loudoun County.
I am reasonably sure that not even the unions would oppose the first four of these steps.
The kids are waiting.